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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  June 21, 2014 3:30am-4:01am EDT

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most of the musicians use instruments and language considered obsolete by some. they draw musical inspiration by nature. and used by the ancestors hundreds of years ago. a quick look at the home page of our website . >> kids with no papers and no parents are flowing across the u.s. border overwhelming the normal channels dealing with up documented border crossers and uncompanied miners. iners--minors. that's the inside story. >> hello, i'm ray suarez. the united states border patrol
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reports the number of minors crossing the border illegally has jumped more than $1,000%. vice president joe biden is in central america for talks on the refugee flow. it's created a practical legal problem and real humanitarian challenge for the united states. and an opening for the human smuggling gangs of mexico that have long sense joined forces with organized crime south of the border. when an adult crosses the border or shortly after reaching safe harbor in an american city it sets off one set of american responses. when a child is involved in the process, and part of a stampede sent from south american countries, it creates a different problem. >> reporter: 9 wave of
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uncompanied minors crossing the border has triggered an unscheduled summit with south american leaders. vice president joe biden is meeting with guatemalan president, and the president from ecuador and other leaders. earlier this month president obama declared the spike in children flooding overwhelmed u.s. immigration centers a humanitarian crisis and called on the federal agency. >> when children's cross the u.s. without their parents they become wards of the state and their deportation becomes longer and more complicated. as justice department lawyers trickle in federal and state resourcesources are being strained to the breaking point.
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emergency shelters have been opened to military bases. california, oklahoma, and texas. and it's not just a crisis confined to border states. the impacts are being felt as far away as virginia and new york. >> in decision to all this we know we must do something to stem this tide. >> extreme poverty and gang-related violence in their home countries are among the main reasons young children flee to the united states. frequently the goal is to reunite with family members already here. >> they ask you for money. they kill pup it's horrible. >> these people who come to the united states looking for a job, which is most of them, they're very vulnerable. >> the story has become another flesh wound in the national immigration debate which has recently evolved into finger pointing. democrats say republicans are block reform. the republicans say the administration is too soft on
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enforcement . >> the administration's action has only served to increase more illegal crossings. child migration is not new but it's clearly getting worse. the obama administration said three years ago 6,000 children crossed the border without an adult. this year that number is projected to be ten times higher. >> the arrival of children in central america has set off a wave of charge and counter charge. to talk about why the kids are coming, what happens when they get here and what the united states is going to do about it. we're joined by our guests.
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let me start with you. what happens when a kid unaccompanied is picked up at the border? >> normally what happens is that the the border agent will encounter that child and then contact the agency and transport them to health and human services who has the authority to house that person, the minor. what is happen something that the process is being drawn out and they're having to find temporary shelters. >> when they transfer them to health and human services' custody what kind of facility are they kept? is it more like a dorm? more like a jail. >> they're more like a dorm and they're in limited locations across the country. what we're seeing now they're having to set up temporary shelters pending an immigration hearing. ultimately each of these
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children are going to be served with documents that require them to appear before an immigration judge. if they're released that process could drag out as long as two years. >> wendy young what are the important differences? right now during this same stretch of weeks a lot of children are showing up with parents. now if you get caught making an illegal crossing with your mother s that different in the law and the way we process these cases? than if you're picked up by yourself when you're 10 or 11 years old. >> yes, if the child is alone there is a particular vulnerability. and that's why we set up laws specifically to provide for the care and custody of those children so that we know that they're safe while we sort out what their status is . this is what we're fays, with a heavy overlay of child
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protection. >> does the government have a different kind of responsibility. you know, juvey court is different from a regular court proceeding. juvenile detention is different from prison. the culpa billty. >> yes, like adults they're not provided counsel or a guardianed e guardian ad lite. i've seen trials with the five alone. >> do they get a translator. >> what we do is try to find a volunteer lawyer from the private sector from a law enforcement or corporate legal
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department to volunteer to represent that child in immigration court. however, before the surge, 57% of these children were going through the proceedings unrepresented and i fear that that lack of representation is up around 70% to 90%. >> this i think you would agree john torres this is swamping the system? >> this was not a system designed to with stand the number of children we're facing. the we're looking at 90,000 children and next year we're looking at at more. for many years we saw 6,000 to 8,000 children arriving alone so we're far beyond the capacity of the system right now. >> we're far beyond the capacity of the system even before these kids got here. if you're in normal immigration proceedings you could wait years for your case to come up what's
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going to happen now? >> so the two year wait, that's an average wait for anyone waiting to go before an immigration judge. we made more adjustment in immigration enforcement than we have in immigration judges. the system has been front loaded on the enforcement end and lacked funding on the adjudication end for some time now. one thing that hopefully is going to happen there will be a surge to address this particular flow. but ultimately that's something that hopefully congress will address because they can do a surge operation and move judges into this region but there has not been the investment in the immigration court. that's something that we hope will have addressed through this. >> don't these kids arrive at a particularly complicated time
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for the obama administration? >> they definitely do. one narrative you have heard through this surge and flows it proves that the border is out of control. that's not really what this proves. what we're not see something a bunch of kids arriving at the border and evading border control. they are hthey are arriving at the border and presenting themselves. what we're seeing now is the process. what happens next and where are they going to be housed, and how are they going to be placed with a family. under u.s. law with the unaccompanied children they will typically if family members can be identified in the u.s. they'll typically get placed with a family member while they wait for that hearing before the immigration judge. it's really the acute issue is the flow-through how do they get housed and processed and cared for until they can get placed with somebody. but sort of in the broader
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immigration reforms it highlights the operation and it's unclear what will happen down the road when people get to a hearing and what kind of relief and enforcement is going to end up facing these kids. >> will people get to a hearing? i hear that they're handed a piece of paper with a hearing date. released to an aunt, uncle, cousin, do we know how good the level of compliance is? can people just disappear in the big america once that happens? they can disappear . >> those who have been arrested and crossed the border multiple
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times and returned, really those, the worse of the worse are adults, not children. even if they do show up at their hearing and there may an percentage that will and hopes that they will be compliant with the law and possibly become legal down the road there are those who will not show up and they won't be a priority for anyone to take a look at. >> that's where the difference between being 16 and 10 comes in. you may be able to navigate the back rooms of restaurant in chicago or construction sites in the southwest as an older teenager in a way that you can't if you're really a little kid. >> the other part to be 16, and there a number of people who are coming across, a number of children who are in that teen range who are hoping that while they're riding this process out, that something will change, the messaging that they're not eligible for deferred action under the docket program or they may not be eligible for immigration reform as written
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right now, they're willing to take the risk that it will change or the country won't have the will to remove 250,000 children that may be here in the next couple of years. >> we're going take a short break. when we come back we'll talk about the push and pull factors that are leading us to this place with so many kids coming across the border. this is inside story. stay with us. >> fran drescher >> bad things happen to good people >> an incredible fight >> there was like a perfect storm... >> an ability to overcome... >> i was able to turn my pain into purpose... >> her inspirational story >> you pull yourself up, and you start all over again... >> every saturday join us for exclusive, revealing, and surprising talks with the most interesting people of our time. >> talk to al jazeera only on al jazeera america
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>> on tech know. >> that is immense...
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>> there a misunderstood... ...vital part of the ecosystem >> a tiger shark... ...first one of the expodition >> can they be saved? >> sharks don't eat people... >> tech know, every saturday go where science meets humanity. >> this is some of the best driving i've every done, even though i can't see. >> tech know. >> we're here in the vortex. only on al jazeera america. >> welcome back to inside story on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. we're talking about the uncompanied minors arriving in the u.s. in new and shocking numbers. now keep in mind that most of the time most years mexicans are the vast majority of unauthorized border crossers. but in the case of these latest kids trying to enter the united states in large numbers three america. something is up. the number of
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hondurasen kids coming across is up 150 percent. is there word coming up from central america about what is spurring this? >> violence in central america and violence being caused by criminal elements. these are countries with very weak governance and without the resource to combat the violence. we hear from a lot of children that we're working with that the gangs are coming into their schools. they're coming into their homes and threatening their lives or threatening the lives of their parents if the parent won't turn the child over to the gang member. we also see a lot of girls arriving in the states who are pregnant either because the gangs raped them in their home country or raped along the way very often by the same criminal element who is preyed on them. >> if you're from the the th
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the hondurasen and there is at big country of mexico. even an adult would have a difficult time crossing the territory. how does it happen? >> we have had families say to us, i would rather my daughter die on the way to the united states than die on my back door steps. honduras has the world's highest murder rate because of these criminal elements that are taking control of the country. the honduran president declared the country to be at war. >> they're working over time on recycling stories about getting across, what it will mean, and possibly that they won't send you back because the obama administration changed the rules and so on. >> i mean, there is definitely the rumor mill, and there are, you know, information networks and communication that exists
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between communities here and communities in central america. the fact is that kids when they arrive are getting placed on long calendars before their hearing. there are rumors that get back to central america and some accurate information that reinforces the push factors and the pull. the other important development in the last few years that contributes to the rising numbers that have been so dramatic, the smuggling networks have become much more professionalized. they advertise, recruit people and they're offering a door-to-door service that didn't exist a few years ago. that's a key piece of what is allowing the flow to grow so quickly. >> there is a policy challenge in the united states. it's not as if you can wag your finger, say stop coming and people will stop. >> you're right. you could have the right kind of messaging, but the reality is that information network is going to take a look at what is
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happening in practice as opposed to what they're being told. so if they send their children over here, and they're not coming back and then they're hearing that they're here and not in custody, that is going to be their reality as opposed to well, you can't come over here, and if you come over here you'll not be eligible for different types of programs. >> so what do you do? >> there has to be comprehensive approach. they have to work with foreign governments and there is a good start of what we're seeing for foreign countries. target the smuggling network, dismantle them because they're the ones putting the children in harm's way here. we don't want to see another victoria, texas, where we saw people die in the back of an 1
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18-wheeler. they have to work with the business community. the non-governmental organizations. medical community to provide those services realtime to them because they are in need of those services when you bring them over. and lastly as we also heard today they're going to send the judges down there. they are going to send immigration, prosecutors. if they're going to protect the due process you want to speed that process up, so you don't have children sitting in shelters for months at a time . >> reporter: like every country in the world which has the right and obligation to police its borders and have some idea of who is here. >> absolutely, but i do agree with john that this is calling out for a comprehensive solution. we do need to address the root causes of why these children are fleeing in the first place. we have a self interest.
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these same criminal elements are engaged in marco traffic narco trafficking, and guess where these drugs are coming from. but we have a responsibility to care for these children who are children fore most. i agree with mark and john, we need to resource the adjudication system more so we can make decisions much more quickly. some of these kids can go home safely. this is what it should be about. finding a safe solution for every child. it may mean that they remain in the united states or they may go home to a family member. >> but the unit cost must be very difference. apprehending someone from a northern state in mexico and putting them in a bus in nogales and sending them home to an adult is different from a kid who you have to watch out for in
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a different way and then get somewhere else in the world. >> right, i mean, it would definitely be more cost effective in the long run to address root causes. to invest in communities of or jen, to get people to stay, to give the push factors fight the crime and violence and create economic opportunities. that's in the long run, and a much more cost effective way to combat the incentive of people fleeing and being apprehended here, going through processing and being flown home. that's an expensive way to respond. but addressing the root causes approach is a long-term strategy. there are short-term things we can do also. to try to intervene earlier in the process. >> we'll talk about that after we take a short break. this is inside story. stay with us.
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>> you're watching inside story on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. in one border control sector it's easy to see what is happening. in the rio grand sector in the texas gulf coast the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended has gone from 12,000 to more than 33,000 in fiscal 14, and there is still of months to go before the fiscal year is over. we're talking about the challenge and policy and politics and practical terms with mark rosen bloom. john torres, who served as the acting director of the custom enforcement agency in 2008 and 2009, and wendy young, the president of kids in need of defense. how will this affect the current debate in washington of how to
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move forward. >> it couldn't have come at a worse time. even for the president's dhs's review of enforcement practices the president has tasked johnson at dhs to look for ways to do more humane immigration enforcement. to find people who are eligible for discretion. even though what this really highlights, severe problems of origin. in the u.s. it's being portrayed and perceived that the agency is out of control. it has tied the president's hands in what can be done to give relief to people. and
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everything is just happening at once. >> john torres, i guess it's hard to have a rational conversation about what to do in case there is a fire when the house is on fire. this is how people talk about this issue l it's applicable or not, won't it? >> it will inform people on the issue. i've had peach approach me and say why can't you put people on the bus. you can't even do that with adults. they have due process. but this is a different population here. you have vulnerable minors who say sure, you can put me on a bus and send me home. you can't do that. you have to provide options and services for them for due process. >> wouldn't that be a deterrent as word got out. if we toughened up, did put them
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on buses and sent them out and emptied the buses and said sorry, you can't come to the united states. >> the down side of that is where are you sending these children and what type of situation are you sending them back to. it would be a deterrent. if word got out that, a, we're not letting them in. and b, when we are letting them in, we're expediting the process and sending them back. >> wendy young before we go is there reason to believe that we're still in the early days of this human flow rather than toward the end of it? >> i believe we're in the early days. i think we're going to be facing this for several months until we find the comprehensive solution implemented in a way that preserves child protection, and brings order to the flow and sends a message back to the home
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country that coming here is not a slam dunk that they're going to be provided protection. to use your house analogy, when your home is robbed we don't prosecute you, we prosecute the robber. let's not retrauma ize these children. >> pictures of kids on cots who are getting three meals a day is probably not the biggest deterrent who are coming fro coming frocomeing from areas of south america. that brings us to the end of this edition of inside story. the program may be over but the conversation continues. we want to hear what you think about this or any day's show. send us your thoughts on twitter. our handle is aj inside story am or reach me directly on twitter @ray suarez news.
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we'll see you for the next "inside story." from washington, i'm ray suarez. >> on "america tonight": new clashes, more key territory grabbed by rebel fighters. and more doubt that baghdad's leader can hang on. is the country headed towards a breakup no one can prevent? >> with the number of foreign fighters that have been assembled this remains a very significant issue. >> the pressure grows on iraq in turmoil. also tonight, when shangri la meets the american dream. correspondent michael okwu meets a growing but troubled commu


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